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HHN '18: Employee Preview Night

ush.hacker

Veteran Member
Dec 10, 2016
1,383
Studio City, CA
HI!
So, as many of you know last night I attended employee preview night. It was a really fun night filled with a great atmosfear and loads of scares:chainsaw: Now to go into more detail....

I arrived to the event around 6-ish which worked out perfectly as I was able to complete all the mazes by the end of the night. Within the first 10 minutes of the event ST spiked to 180, SHOW UP TO HHN BEFORE OR AT 6PM THIS YEAR. You'll regret it in the long run if you don't.

The opening scaremony was really congested because of A.S.S. narrowing the street. Which was okay, still had a view of the fire towers and oh boy I missed them. The fire towers really are a staple of HHN Hollywood and I'm glad they returned after their year absence. After the scaremony, we booked it to the LL to ST; Everybody seemed to have the same idea, but we took the stairs all the way down and avoided crowds. To walk the line itself it took about 10 minutes. Be warned, the line continues into the soundstage, but it hypes you up even more as you can hear the demogorgan sounds and screams from terrified guests. This brings us to our first maze....

STRANGER THINGS:
LOVED IT! I kept going on and on about how incredible the audio of the maze is. I've never seen a maze anywhere with better effects and audio. It was 5 straight minutes of porn. HHN out did themselves with this one.

TRICK R TREAT:
Enjoyed the maze, but it wasnt a strong maze. The facade for TRT is gorgeous and possibly the best facade of this year. The maze is a style that we've never seen at the event before; A few massive show scenes then it's over. There aren't 30 tiny scenes. Overall, I really enjoyed this maze.

HOLIDAYZ IN HELL:
I enjoyed it - I'm not a big fan of the gauntlet style, but it's definitely one of the better ones we've seen. It was shockingly long as they used up the entire space to their advantage

POLTERGIEST:
Holy Sh*t. Sets, props, actors INCREDIBLE. I'm not going to say too much so you don't go in with too high of expectations, but wow

THE FIRST PURGE:
It was meh. Better than AVED but still a meh maze. The best word I could use to describe it would be "uneventful" as nothing was really happening in the maze. Definitely my least favorite of the night

THE HORRORS OF BLUMHOUSE 2:
Fun! Wasnt bad at all; I enjoyed it a hell lot more than I did SAW last year. Just go in with an open mind and it could easily be one of your favorite. Really well done and creative

TERROR TRAM:
I have never in my life seen more reused props and masks for an event. Masks from Saw, Toxic Tunnel, Hell-O-Ween, and AHS all made an appearance LOL. It was alright, much rather have 2016s. Something I loved about the Tram was the story and more specifically the opening video. IT WAS ON POINT

UNIVERSAL CLASSIC MONSTERS:
Holy Shi*t. Never have I seen a more detailed maze at this event; It's so clear that this maze was a labor of love. It really really shows. The set's and actors were on point. Love The Invisible man

HALLOWEEN 4:
H4 was our final maze of the night and our longest wait. They OPs were doing a horrible job at pulsing people in. HORRIBLE. If they kept up that pace for opening night, the line could easily hit 6 hours. It was so maddening! Anywho, the maze was a fun one and I'm happy to see a "MEYERS" return.

Overall, this year was breathtaking and they really outdid themselves comparing it to 2016. Reminder, this is just my own opinion based on my personal experience! Just go in with a clear mind and you'll have the time of your life. From everyone I talk to UCM and Poltergeist are the top mazes this year

1. UCM
2. Poltergiest
3. Stranger Things
4. TRT
5. Halloween 4
6. HOB2
7. The First Purge

I talked to many people throughout the night and I constantly heard, "This is the best year of HHN EVER"
 

SpookySkeletini

Newcomer
Aug 18, 2018
44
It’s good to hear that HHN is apparently pretty great this year, and that’s only coming from EP! Imagine how good it’s gonna be when everything is officially ready!

Hopefully black walls and repetitive scares will be a thing of the past and they’ll continue to do some more interesting stuff (like what they’re doing with Hell’s Harvest).
 

Chris Galindo

Veteran Member
Feb 22, 2015
2,322
LA
Hey guys, as some of you know I was at HHN EP last night and had a ton of fun! Some reviews may have rubbed off the wrong way but don't dismiss - you wont find a single "bad" house at the event! Mild spoilers ahead!

I'm going in the order I did things

TERROR TRAM: Maybe it was because we were the first crew onboard, but damn, there was lots of great energy. The beginning and end actually got me! This was just fun! However the middle just DRAGS... it drags so bad it's eye roll worthy. But there are some great scares to be had out of this! I say give it a shot!

HALLOWEEN: A very fun house, but it reminds me a little too much of TCM in 2016 in terms of atmosphere. Michael is everywhere and bandaged Michael is so cool! But its such a strange change of pace the moment you start hitting black wall after black wall with only Michael hiding from behind. That said, it is still a very decent house.

UNIVERSAL MONSTERS: Now don't get me wrong - my review made it seem as if I was disappointed, but that's far from it. I just feel that at times it can be a very awkward house in the sense that it's epic, beautiful showroom followed by a transition with blacks walls... then another super scenic room followed by black walls... and over and over. A lot of love can be seen that was put into this house and it was beautiful. Definitely a top 3 house of the year.

TRICK 'R TRAT: Weird to say, this was very cute. I wouldn't say it's the best but its super fun, and some good scares! Especially the opening. Some good sets too! At times it felt like a neighborhood, I'd even say I'd compare it to a very well thought out home haunt (I say this as a compliment).

STRANGER THINGS:
I got conga lined through this one, but even then, wow, what a GORGEOUS maze. I'm going to hit it first come Sunday but the amount of detail was astounding. Lots of cool effects and the soundstage really helps. That said, I was not scared once. Oh and the "RUN" Christmas lights scene has such a cool effect many people missed.

THE FIRST PURGE: Sure it's the weakest, but even then I wouldn't go out of my way to say it's terrible (the opening scene with the mannequins has a good scare that got me). But it does feel very out of place in the large scale of the event. Some great scenes, but weird execution. There's also some Orlando style scares in this maze which was weird considering the house it's for.

POLTERGEIST: Funnest house of the night! But there is a LONG and I mean LONG stretch that feels like it never ends that's just black walls. No scares, nothing, just a super long transition that feels it wont end. Some great effects and decent scares. One of my top houses of the night for sure.

HORRORS OF BLUMHOUSE: Weird to say i got the best scare of the night from here. Another fun house and it has the least amount of black walls. That said... I don't want it to come back, lol.

Overall, it's an improvement from last year, but I wouldn't say it's the best year ever. A very solid year, and I can't wait to see all the kinks worked out.
 

Chris Galindo

Veteran Member
Feb 22, 2015
2,322
LA
I think '16 is the Gold Standard for me followed by 13'. I'd place it right next to '13 but not sure if I'd put it above.
 

Clive

aka Fallow
Staff member
Moderator
May 26, 2010
3,534
It bears repeating: Classic Monsters is really good. Huge cast, eerie score, exit scare zone makes for a great finale. A few too many black wall transitions but the sets that are there are stunning. Not sure why they emphasized Dracula on the key art, as he's... barely in the maze.
 

Freak

Veteran Member
Jan 10, 2013
4,115
No man's land: SoCal
I’m hearing a LOT of mixed reviews. “Good”, “Great”, “best year ever”, “okay year”....

Whatever. I’m going to reserve my judgement and just have a good time.
 

Presto95

Newcomer
Aug 13, 2017
38
I posted this in the general discussion thread, but I’ll repost it here. I’m honestly surprised by all the positive reviews I’ve been seeing. I’ve always been forgiving of the event, but this was the first year I was completely disappointed with it. Here’s the review:

I love HHN and I get scared VERY easily, especially at HHN. I’ve always loved HHN, but this was the first year I was disappointed by HHN. I know this is only preview night and I’ve got tickets to come back in a few weeks, so I’m really hoping it improves by then.

Here’s my spoiler free review:

1. Poltergeist: Hands down my favorite maze. Pretty effects heavy and really brings the movie to life. The most traumatizing movie from my childhood did not disappoint as a maze.
2. Stranger Things: Not even remotely scary, but man, is it absolutely gorgeous. The scale of some of it is super impressive. Possibly their best looking maze yet.
3. Universal Monsters: Way more black walls than I would’ve liked, but what was there I loved. Some solid scares and some really beautiful sets. I headed there first as soon as it opened and we had to wait about 20 minutes because they weren’t ready for opening.
4. Trick ‘r Treat: This is my favorite Halloween movie and it was so nice seeing it brought to life finally. Some nice scale to some of the scenes, but because of that it felt very short to me. It was also very light on any good scares.
5. Halloween 4: Unfortunately, nothing really to write home about. It’s not bad exactly, just not nearly as strong as the last two Halloween mazes. Too much use of a certain effect. They use it at least three times in the maze and it’s overkill. Anyone who’s done it will probably know what I’m talking about.
6. Horrors of Blumhouse Chapter 2:
Better than I expected it to be. Didn’t scare me at all, but they got pretty creative with Truth or Dare and Unfriended. Some really nice looking sets. Honestly, I didn’t care a whole lot for the third act of it. I’m hoping I like it more my next time I go through.
7. The First Purge: Hands down the worst maze I’ve ever been through at Horror Nights. Black walls galore. It must be about 40% black walls. Some nice “outdoor” environments, but none of the scares work at all and it’s just so ridiculously stale. Definitely skip this one.

I didn’t bother with TWDA.

I really liked the scarezones, with the exception of Toxxic Tunnel. The only thing I liked about it was that it eased up on the strobe lights so I could see where I was going. There was a medical emergency on our way back through the tunnel, so the lights were all on and we were stopped for a few minutes while they finished it up. Not sure what happened, but I hope everyone involved is okay.

Overall, the scares this year were just creatively bankrupt. It’s the same poop as last year, with the overkill on the “pop out of a window in a black hallway” Exorcist scare. They also recycled the scare from Sinister where someone pops out of a screen with projection on it. I saw it on at least three different occasions. Just because a scare works well doesn’t mean you need to beat it to death. Poltergeist had my favorite scare of the night. I yelled and jumped and it hadn’t me on Edge the rest of the maze.

Oh, and Terror Tram. I’m usually pretty lenient on the tram, and I enjoyed it. It’s really the same as it always is, but the props and costumes and makeup were really great. They also don’t touch on Hollywood Harry’s origin again at all, so if you didn’t see the tram a couple years ago, you won’t know who he is at all.

EDIT: All these positive reviews make me think I’m crazy. It’s hyping me up for my return visit.
 
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rageofthegods

Veteran Member
Sep 10, 2017
1,848
I have a question for people who went to the event:

I caved and watched part of a video. I know, I'm ashamed of myself. But, there's a part after the Phantom of the Opera's music room where you go through the catacombs, and I'm legitimately unsure how much of it is black walls and how is just lighting failures. Could people who've been clarify this?
 

Clive

aka Fallow
Staff member
Moderator
May 26, 2010
3,534
I have a question for people who went to the event:

I caved and watched part of a video. I know, I'm ashamed of myself. But, there's a part after the Phantom of the Opera's music room where you go through the catacombs, and I'm legitimately unsure how much of it is black walls and how is just lighting failures. Could people who've been clarify this?
It's black walls with a lot of hanging bodies. It's only for the "sewer," then you're back into full sets.

There's also a black wall bit right before you enter the zone with 3 monsters, and a bit at the beginning as you head to the angry villager mob.
 

horrornights789

Veteran Member
Jul 8, 2017
3,125
I can’t believe how good Unfriended and Truth or Dare looked to be, from now on I’m just trusting whatever John does
 

Clive

aka Fallow
Staff member
Moderator
May 26, 2010
3,534
Can someone direct me to these POVs? Can't find any on YouTube and there's a few things I'd like to eyeball...